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Ex-Lions litter Fox Sports’ top 10 undrafted NFL QBs

The Detroit News

Tony Romo retired this month after 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, capping a career in which he finished as the franchise’s all-time leading passer.

Not bad for an undrafted quarterback out of Eastern Illinois.

In honor of Romo’s retirement, Fox Sports ranked the top 10 undrafted quarterbacks in NFL history. The list is chock full of names familiar to Lions fans.

Of the 10, four spent time in Detroit: David Krieg (No. 3), Jeff Garcia (No. 4), Jon Kitna (No. 8), Erik Kramer (No. 9), and Mike Tomczak (No. 10).

Warren Moon leads Fox Sports’ list.

Krieg spent just one season in Detroit (1994), where he appeared in 14 games, including seven starts after taking over for Scott Mitchell, plus a 16-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a 1994 wild-card game. He passed for 1,629 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. He had a QB rating of 101.7.

Krieg’s heyday was with the Seahawks, where he spent his first 12 seasons after coming out of Milton College, an NAIA school.

“Krieg won 70 games, was voted to three Pro Bowls and took the Seahawks to the playoffs four times,” Andre Vergara of Fox Sports writes. “And when Seattle let him leave at age 34, he went to Kansas City and took the Chiefs to the playoffs, then helped Joe Montana do it again the following year. At age 36 he came off the bench to lead the Lions to the playoffs, and he played with three more teams until he was 40. Krieg finished among the all-time great QBs in wins (98), TD passes (261), passing yards (38,147) and completions (3,105).”

Like Krieg, Garcia spent just a single season in Detroit (2005), and enjoyed his most success somewhere else after playing collegiately at San Jose State. Garcia appeared in just six games — five starts — for the Lions that season. Garcia’s best seasons were with the San Francisco 49ers (1999-2003), where he went to the Pro Bowl in three of his five seasons. He also won a Grey Cup in the Canadian Football League.

Kitna spent three seasons in Detroit, throwing for more than 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007. The Central Washington product also threw for more interceptions (47) than touchdowns (44) in those three seasons.

He had mixed success in Seattle, which signed him, Cincinnati and Dallas in 16 seasons.

“He led the Seahawks to the playoffs in his first season as starter but lasted just one more year in Seattle before moving on to Cincinnati,” Vergara wrote. “Kitna started for the Bengals for three seasons, earning Comeback Player of the Year in 2003 while throwing for 3,591 yards and 26 TDs.”

Kramer perhaps enjoyed the most success while with the Lions, leading them to a 12-4 record and an NFC Central Division title, as well as their only playoff victory — a 38-6 divisional-round victory over the Cowboys — since 1957.

“Kramer was a surprise sensation in Detroit when Rodney Peete went down in 1991,” Vergara wrote.

The North Carolina State product spent three seasons in Detroit (1991-93), where he appeared in 25 games (15 starts) before spending the next five seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Tomczak was with the Lions in 2000 — the final season of a 16-year NFL career — but did not appear in a game.